Keeping Dictators Honest : the Role of Population Concentration
AbstractIn order to explain the apparently paradoxical presence of acceptable governance in many non-democratic regimes, economists and political scientists have focused mostly on institutions acting as de facto checks and balances. In this paper, we propose that population plays a similar role in guaranteeing the quality of governance and redistribution. We argue and demonstrate with historical evidence that the concentration of population around the policy making center serves as an insurgency threat to a dictatorship, inducing it to yield to more redistribution and better governance. We bring this centered concept of population concentration to the data through the Centered Index of Spatial Concentration developed by Do & Campante (2008). The evidence supports our predictions : only in the sample of autocracies, population concentration around the capital city is positively associated with better governance and more redistribution (proxied by post-tax inequality), in OLS and IV regressions. Finally, we provide arguments to dismiss possible reverse causation as well as alternative, non-political economy explanations of such regularity,discuss the general applicability of our index and conclude with policy implications.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Governance Working Papers with number 22076.
Date of creation: Jan 2009
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More information through EDIRC
Capital Cities; Gravity; Governance; Inequality; Redistribution; Population Concentration; Revolutions; Harmonic Functions; Axiomatics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- J19 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Other
- R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
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